The brother of Australian cricket star Usman Khawaja has been charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice and forgery after allegedly planting a note detailing a fake terror plot in order to frame a love rival.
Arsalan Tariq Khawaja is accused of creating a false document “containing plans that purported to facilitate terrorism attacks”. The document led to the arrest and imprisonment of Mohamed Kamer Nizamdeen in August.
Mr Nizamdeen was later released in October after it was shown his handwriting did not match that in the document, which featured threats against prominent figures including then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Mr Khawaja was arrested on Tuesday in western Sydney as part of a New South Wales Joint Counter Terrorism Team investigation and granted bail in Sydney’s Parramatta local court.
Assistant police commissioner Mick Willing told reporters that Mr Nizamdeen, 25, had been the victim of a “planned and calculated” ruse which was motivated by a grievance over a woman both men were courting.
“We regret what happened to Mr Nizamdeen. But, really, the person who is responsible for what occurred to him is the person we’re alleging manufactured this document,” Mr Willing said.
Speaking from his native Sri Lanka, Mr Nizamdeen described the police operation which led to his arrest as “immature, embarrassing and biased”.
“I am completely exonerated and I hope the media and the Sri Lankan public can help me pick up the pieces of my shattered life,” he said.
Mr Khawaja’s arrest comes as his brother, Usman prepares to play for Australia in the first test match of a four-game series against India in Adelaide.
“This is a matter for the police to deal with,” the cricketer said about his brother in a statement he read in Adelaide on Tuesday.
“Out of respect for the process it’d be inappropriate for me to be making any further comment. I just ask for you to please respect my privacy and my family’s privacy during this time,” he said.
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